Child Health in a Post-Flood Period in Bangladesh
In the summer of 1998, Bangladesh was inundated by significant flooding that covered two-thirds of the country and affected more than 30 million people. Although annual flooding is normal and expected in Bangladesh, the 1998 floods caused extraordinary devastation and were considered a “century” flood. Homestead flooding, crop loss and infrastructure damage all compromised food security in rural areas. In this paper I use longitudinal data from the post-flood period in rural Bangladesh to examine children’s nutritional status in the post-flood recovery period. I find that parent’s human capital (as measured by mother’s height and educational attainment of the household head) attenuates the negative effects of flood exposure on children’s nutritional status during the post-flood year. Understanding the implications of a post-disaster recovery period for child welfare is vital for future planning and relief efforts. This study contributes to these efforts by exploiting longitudinal data and age differences in growth rates to identify the importance of parental human capital in protecting children during nutritionally vulnerable periods.